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    Brefeldin A (1), a potent cytotoxic natural macrolactone, was produced by the marine fungus Penicillium sp. (HS-N-29) from the medicinal mangrove Acanthus ilicifolius. Series of its ester derivatives 2-16 were designed and semi-synthesized, and their structures were characterized by spectroscopic methods. Their cytotoxic activities were evaluated against human chronic myelogenous leukemia K562 cell line in vitro, and the preliminary structure-activity relationships revealed that the hydroxy group played an important role. Moreover, the monoester derivatives exhibited stronger cytotoxic activity than the diester derivatives. Among them, brefeldin A 7-O-2-chloro-4,5-difluorobenzoate (7) exhibited the strongest inhibitory effect on the proliferation of K562 cells with an IC50 value of 0.84 ┬ÁM. Further evaluations indicated that 7 induced cell cycle arrest, stimulated cell apoptosis, inhibited phosphorylation of BCR-ABL, and thereby inactivated its downstream AKT signaling pathway. The expression of downstream signaling molecules in the AKT pathway, including mTOR and p70S6K, was also attenuated after 7-treatment in a dose-dependent manner. Furthermore, molecular modeling of 7 docked into 1 binding site of an ARF1-GDP-GEF complex represented well-tolerance. Taken together, 7 had the potential to be served as an effective antileukemia agent or lead compound for further exploration.


    Xu-Xiu Lu, Yao-Yao Jiang, Yan-Wei Wu, Guang-Ying Chen, Chang-Lun Shao, Yu-Cheng Gu, Ming Liu, Mei-Yan Wei. Semi-Synthesis, Cytotoxic Evaluation, and Structure-Activity Relationships of Brefeldin A Derivatives with Antileukemia Activity. Marine drugs. 2021 Dec 24;20(1)

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    PMID: 35049881

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